I got my first formal mediation instruction in college while I was working on my engineering degree. I desperately needed some stress reduction, and sought out the local Zen center. The tools I learned helped me get through my courses, and then the stress of a job in the budding mobile communication industry. Ironically, I later found that my scientific training was also a great help with meditation!
A few years later, I encountered insight meditation, and realized it was something I wanted to explore much more deeply. I began attending retreats, and eventually left my corporate career to attend a 3-month retreat at IMS. This was followed by a decade of many more retreats, including a year spent in silent retreat as a Buddhist nun in Myanmar (Burma).
My teachers there taught what is called "the Mahasi method," which emphasises clear, non-judgmental awareness. My own teaching style has been heavily influenced by this approach, which is beautifully elegant, precise and effective. My time in Asia also gave me an appreciation for the traditional teachings of Theravada Buddhism, and I often draw from original sources when sharing the dharma.
Eventually, some of my American teachers approached me about moving into a teaching role. I was hesitant, but having seen the great changes in my own heart and mind, was inspired to do what I could to help spread this amazing practice. I had the great good fortune to be mentored by Josph Goldstein and Steve Armstrong at IMS, as well as training with Ven. Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia.
More recently, I've been living with my partner and children in suburban Maryland. I don't get much time to go on retreat these days, but I've found family life to be just as rich a place to practice as a hut in Asia. Parenting is a whole practice in itself! The cultivation of loving-kindness and compassion has become so important, both personally and for our society, and I am passionate about sharing this profound practice.